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those who excel logoSince 1970, the Illinois State Board of Education has sponsored the Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year program to honor educators who have made significant contributions to our state's public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. Awards are presented in seven categories: classroom teachers, early career educators (teachers 1-4 years), school administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteers, and teams. Application materials are evaluated by a selection committee composed of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. All awardees are honored at an annual banquet in the Spring.  Send a message to​ if you have questions about the program.​​​​​​​

2024 Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awardees

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has honored more than 500 Illinoisans for their extraordinary contributions to education across the state through its annual Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awards. The awardees include 15 members of the Illinois Teacher of the Year Cohort. You can find a full list of 2024 awardees herePDF Document.​​​​​

ISBE accepts nominations of outstanding educators, school staff, and volunteers all year round! Click the "Nominate an Outstanding Educator" button above. Applications for the 2025 Those Who Excel & Teacher of the Year Awards will open in fall 2024. Subscribe to the SOAR Educator Recognition Newsletter for updates!​​​​

 Teacher of the Year Appearances and Speaking Engagements

Briana Morales, the 2023​ Illinois Teacher of the Year, is available for speaking engagements and other events. If you would like to request her attendance or participation at ​an upcoming event, please take a few minutes to fill out the following form. If you have a request that doesn't fit the categories provided, please fill out the last field to fully explain your request. For more information about Briana's previous work, please read more about her career below.

 2024 Illinois Teacher of the Year Cohort

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